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Whooping Crane

1880-1920
Origin: America
23 1/4" X 17 1/8" X 3 3/4"
Painted wood with glass eyes
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1984.702.1
Carved and painted wooden bird with glass eye. Constructed of three pieces of wood joined (1) at neck just below head and (2) about a quarter way up neck, above body. The neck sweeps forward and back, forming an "S" curve with the head. The beak is black, with red on top of the head, and a black marking that comes to a horizontal point just below the eye on each side of the head. The wing feathers are black-tipped; the rest of the bird is off-white.
Label:This memorable, stylized carving is about one-half to one-third life size. The reasons for its creation are uncertain. Whooping cranes have not been methodically or widely hunted, and no carvings representing the species are known to have been used as decoys. It seems more likely that this sculpture was fashioned as a decorative piece, perhaps as a tribute to the regal bird that has bordered on extinction in North America since the late nineteenth century.
Provenance:Partial gift of Charles Spiron of Currituck Decoy Co. (Currituck, N.C.), ownership prior to Spiron is unknown